Weight Loss and the Mediterranean Diet
Overweight patients who went on a two-year Mediterranean diet were able to maintain some of their weight loss for an additional four years, researchers say. That diet was more successful than a low-fat or low-carbohydrate eating program.
Researchers at the Nuclear Research Center Negev, in Dimona, Israel, analyzed weight loss in 322 moderately obese patients, most of them men, over a two-year period. They also analyzed the subjects’ weight for an additional four years. The participants were divided into three groups: those who followed a low-fat diet, those who followed a Mediterranean diet; and those who followed a low-carbohydrate diet.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes vegetables and legumes as well as sources of “good fats” like olive oil. It has been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease and cholesterol levels.
For the first two years, the subjects were given nutritional information and specific meals. At the end of that period, the low-fat group lost an average of 6.39 pounds each; the Mediterranean group lost 9.70 pounds; and the low-carbohydrate group lost 10.36 pounds. (Calories were restricted on the first two diets but not on the third).
However, four years after the diet program ended, subjects who had been on the low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet showed that the patients regained a significant amount of weight. The low-fat group regained 5.95 pounds, while the low-carbohydrate group regained 9.03 pounds. But the Mediterranean group regained just 3.08 pounds.